Monday, October 15, 2018


Our eldest foster child, is now on his way to being one of the family - as much as he wishes to be. It's not a good idea to force the issue, actually you can't, they either sign up or keep their distance or most often find a place somewhere in between. Their preferred place in their foster family is their right.

What makes me think he's signing up? Good question.

You'll laugh, I suspect, it almost seems funny to me. The thing that happened was this;

We have a kitchen chair that goes at the end of our rectangular kitchen table. It's where the chair of the board would sit at a board meeting. This chair, which we bought at a charity shop years ago, has a higher back than the others, and crucially is the only chair round the kitchen table which has arms. My husband tends to sit in it and do paperwork and laptop stuff, and usually sits there for family meals. I sit in it too sometimes. The family associate us as some kind of head of the house in the big chair.

Our eldest foster child understands the status of the big kitchen chair. When he has friends visit he sits in it.

Ryder sits in it too, just to see what it feels like. She doesn't ask, you simply notice that she's taken a slice of toast over to the table and slid into the throne. Some Sunday lunches she asks if she can sit in "the King's seat". My other half and eldest foster child always agree. And we never josh her about it, no-one does. Our real kids and the other foster children all get it. Ryder is trying to experiment with authenticity. She wants to know she is a fully paid up member of the human race and the simple act of sitting in the King's kitchen chair allows her an insight into being authentic... an important experience for a child who has only experienced being sidelined all her life.

The "King's" kitchen chair is more than just the one with the highest back and a pair of arms. In addition it's the only one which has a cushion on it. It's an unusual cushion, flat and wide, not your bog standard plumped up thing. The fact is I can't remember how or why the chair ended up with the cushion. The other chairs don't have a cushion. It might be just that my other half sits in the big chair a lot and wanted a soft seat. It might be that the other chairs don't suit cushions because they'd keep sliding off; the King's chair has arms, and the support struts for the arms keep the cushion from sliding off.

Stick with me. Microscopic stuff is this, but in fostering God is in the details.

I decided to wash the cushion on the King's chair. It would be in the washing cycle for about 2 days. So I replaced it with another cushion.

I didn't tell anyone because who would think anyone would give a tuppeny heck about cushions.


Eldest foster child came downstairs next morning and got ready to traipse off to school. At the front door he hesitated. I asked "You alright?"

He said;

"Where's the cushion gone?"

I explained it was in the wash. It would be back by tomorrow.

"Good." he said, adding.

"It's a tradition in this house."



Blimey. He's not been here a couple of years but he's starting to feel ownership of our family's quirks, the little things that always happen in an okay household.

He gets some peace from those things that are the same every day; there's a comfort in things staying the same. We all feel it.

The cushion went back on the King's chair after a wash. Eldest foster child said nothing. But his world was as it used to be once more, and those of us who've never experienced the chaotic family life of the foster child will never know how much comfort there is in a cushion being where it should be.

And those of us who've never experienced the satisfaction of bringing peace and safety into the life of an innocent child who needs it, well you should try something..



  1. Thanks for another great post.
    Made me think how I'm going to try to keep pattern/predictability for regular respiters. They may only see me once a month, but having some familiarity is a good thing. They certainly can have their own personal duvet set, towels, toiletries etc, which I'll duly put away when other kids are over. But I wonder what other aspects they'll recognise as being integral to staying at mine. I'll try to have meals at the same time, and put some regular patterns in, but with different kids coming it'll be hard in some sense (I might need a spreadsheet to keep track, hehe!).
    As it happens first kids are coming this week. A teenage boy for the weekend who'll prob be monthly and two little boys just for one day in the week who'll prob be once every two months or so.

  2. Ah, this actually brought a tear to my eye! I've always wanted to foster and think I'm now at the point where I can offer a stable and safe environment for a child which brought me here :) I'm really enjoying your blog and the honesty. I think what's really lovely is just how much you care about fostering and the children you foster. I know it should be a given but it's not always the case these days. Xxx

  3. Know what? brought a tear to my eye re-reading this post before replying to your kind comment.
    Good luck with fostering, I'd ask you to get the ball rolling. There's no pressure while you're doing the application process - which as I always tell people, is very enjoyable.

  4. I have found creating traditions to be very important too. I adopted two siblings more than 20 years ago now, both had experienced significant neglect in their early years. We built lots of traditions for example, Friday night was movie night, they had pound to spend on sweets and picked videos (yes that's how it worked back then). Also, we took our holiday in the same resort for 10 years and they just loved the familiarity of it. When my kid were in their late teens they "found" their sister who unfortunately had not been adopted and had spent her life bouncing around foster placements and children's homes. At 17 she came and joined our family - it was interesting and challenging to build those traditions for her too. She is now 20 and I smile very broadly when I hear her say, "this is how we do it in our house" or "we always do X, Y or Z. I am now just about to become a foster carer and feel sure that my experience will be of value.

  5. Sounds like you're really geared up and good to go. Congratulations on a job very well done with your adoptions, what a great experience for you (and for them!). You have to be right in thinking that you have plenty of knowledge under your belt to foster, what's more you have - if I may say so - the gold credential namely a good heart.